Blu-ray, DVD Release: Vanya on 42nd Street

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion


Vanya on 42nd Street movie scene

A group of actors get down to some serious Chekhovian business in Vanya on 42nd Street.

A group of New York actors rehearse Anton Chekhov’s classic play Uncle Vanya in a rundown theater in the 1994 comedy-drama film Vanya on 42nd Street.

The comedy-drama movie was shot in the 1990s, when theater director André Gregory mounted a series of spare, private performances of Uncle Vanya in a crumbling Manhattan playhouse. These unique moments were captured on film by director Louis Malle (Zazie Dans Le Metro ).

In Vanya on 42nd Street, a stellar cast of actors — including Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride), Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right) and Brooke Smith (Fair Game) — embark on a full read-through of the play (adapted into English by David Mamet). The resulting film of the event by Malle, which turned out to be his last movie, is a tribute to Chekhov’s legendary work as well as to the creative process itself.

For Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD edition, the movie got a new high-definition digital restoration. Plus, the Blu-ray features a 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD edition of Vanya on 42nd Street offers the following special features:

  • new documentary featuring interviews with André Gregory, the play’s director; actors Lynn Cohen, George Gaynes, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, and Brooke Smith; and producer Fred Berner
  • trailer
  • booklet featuring an essay by critic Steven Vineberg and a 1994 on-set report by film critic Amy Taubin
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.